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  1. #1

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    I have a question. My seperated husband has a psychiatrist (who oddly enough has a sort of homeopathic approach). I urged him to tell the psychiatrist about the fact that he smokes lots of pot. My motivation was kind of selfish because I am in the same boat and wanted to know if it was problematic in the doctor's opinion. Based on information I've read and heard, from this website, school, and other places I expected the psychiatrist to at least consider this to be somewhat problematic. I guess all he did was asked how much was smoked at one time and if it caused problems in our relationship. Since it hadn't (in fact, sometimes I think it was the only thing that kept us together). Then all he asked was "How would you feel if someone took that away from you?"....now here's my question. I have heard variations on that statement from professionals, like "I won't take that away from you" and so forth. So I want to know, do you think that this doctor really does think this is an issue and perhaps will address it later again, or does he think there really is no problem since it's not interfering with anything? I was a bit suprised that the issue was glazed over given that I thought psychiatrists specialize in the brain and how chemicals can manipulate its function. What does this phrase mean? When do therapists use "How would you feel if someone took that away from you?" and does it likely mean that he will try to take it away later on? After looking at all the psych information on drug use maybe I was beginning to think it was more harmful that it is?? The other thing I was thinking was that maybe the psychiatrist didn't want to overreact and scare him after he told him that or are some therapists fine with certain types of drug use as long as it is not interfering with occupation and relationships?

    I was really taken aback by this whole thing...and kept thinking that I've heard that phrase before

  2. #2

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    A lot of times it's a matter of timing and readiness on the part if the client to hear what the therapist might want to say.

    I may think something is problematical in the long run but if it isn't immediately dangerous or destructive (in the shrot run) and I think there are issues of higher priority I'll intentionally leave it for another time. There is no point in trying to pressure a client to go where s/he is not ready to go... all in good time.

  3. #3

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    Thank you so much for clarifying that. That's what I thought it probably was, but I wasn't sure because it seemed (to my husband) like he was giving approval or at least indifference from what I was told. I guess he also asked what he smoked it out of, and then listed off several methods and my spouse said he used all of them. I couldn't figure out what in the world that would tell him. I mean, what difference would that make from a psychological standpoint anyway? Then I thought maybe the psychiatrist was fine with it because, of course, my spouse unreported how much he smoked (as he did with drinking at his first session, which the doc did not seem to think was a problem either). Now my husband has taken all this as reassurance that the whole thing is nothing to worry about. If you have a chance to answer, how can you tell if someone is ready to work on that and what treatment is used? 12 step programs seem like overkill for pot in my opinion...is regular psychotherapy used? Is it possible that some therapists are alright with these types of behaviors or is it unethical to condone drugs just because they are illegal?

    Anyway, sorry about the rambling and thanks for answering my question...I was dying to know what was really going on (because I'm still too chicken to go see someone myself!). Thanks again and I'm still loving the website...I think it's the best one on the entire internet!

  4. #4

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    First, I think most therapists who work with substance abuse issues assume that most clients will underreport actual use.

    Second, there is a balance between client confidentiality and legality which is sometimes hard to navigate. I tell clients that there are three conditions under which I cannot guarantee confidentiality (Ontario, Canada laws... they may differ in other locations):

    1. if I receive any information indicating a significant risk of imminent harm to self or others, I must act to try to prevent that

    2. if I receive evidence of recent or ongoing child abuse or risk of child abuse, I must by law report that to child protection authorities

    3. if I receive a subpoena from a court of law for clinical records, I have no legal right to refuse that court order

    Beyond that, my role is to help the client make informed choices and to try to help him/her increase awareness of self-destructive or risky or maladaptive behavior. But I am not a policeman. Nor am I an officer of the court. I can tell someone I think it's a bad idea to drive over the speed limit or to write cheques when they don't have money in the account to cover it but if they choose to do that anyway they can do it and simply not tell me they're doing it. On the other hand, if I see a client leaving my office seriously intoxicated and getting into his vehicle to drive, I would do what I could to prevent that,

  5. How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    David, I just don't think that generalizing a profession is very productive. Saying MOST addiction professionals assume people under-report their use without explaining that nearly everyone entering treatment for the first time DOES under-report their use, is ignorant. True, it takes a certain readiness for treatment for the a person to come clean with their usage patterns. But most interpersonal problems are extremely difficult to address when a person's relationship with themself is messed-up and their not being honest about the effect chemicals are having in their life. Addiction tends to prevent genuine, unclouded emotion and thought. How can anyone be clear-headeed enough to go where they need to go in treatment/psychotherapy if they are engaging in addictive behavior of any kind... I don't care what drug/substance it is a person abuses, any drug can become a person's compulsive defense and comfort zone, where often in treatment a person's defenses MUST be broken down/removed, or no progress can be made. It is only in rare instances that people can make long-lasting progress in treatment while continuing to avoid their emotions and don't touch base with the natural ebb and flow of real-life.

    Now, toeless, it may be that the professional doesn't feel competant to address addiction or realizes it is extremely difficult to work with addiction. And will accept the fee for your husbands sessions anyhow. In repeating what has already been said in an above post, if the patient/client is not there under any force (court/probation, etc.) or isn't "ready" to address their chemical use then the psychotherapist really isn't supposed to address anything the client doesn't want. Your husband is avoidant and you and he appear to be denying the fact that without the pot, you wouldn't be together. If you want to get rid of that third leg, you both need to learn to live with eachother without it. Some find that without the drug, there was no relationship to begin with. I hope you find otherwise, good luck.

  6. #6

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    Quote Originally Posted by madinstinct
    David, I just don't think that generalizing a profession is very productive. Saying MOST addiction professionals assume people under-report their use without explaining that nearly everyone entering treatment for the first time DOES under-report their use, is ignorant.
    I think "ignorant" is rather a strong word here, don't you think? As for "generalizing a profession", I would agree that there are exceptions to almost any generalization but I have been in this profession for almost 30 years so I think my comment is pretty accurate.

  7. #7

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    Actually I think I was looking for generalizations because obviously nobody knows exactly what the situation is in my specific situation. I agree that most people underreport their use and I was thinking that would be taken under consideration but then with the lack of the doctor pursuing the topic made me unsure. I'm actually really glad that you generalized Dr. Baxter, because I think when people get overly afraid of generalizations, the only answer that you could ever give someone would be to go get therapy. That would be pretty dull if that's all the advice that was ever given on every thread=) I'm also really interested in not only my specific situation but how the issue is handled in general.

    madinstinct, thank you for your input. I don't really think that it is a competency or money taking issue though (with the therapist). This doctor seems very competent and experienced and really pretty keen on several fronts and he's a psychiatrist. I think if he didn't think it was a problem I would tend to believe him actually. Which is the reason that I asked my original question about trying to figure out what he really thought about it. So far the only problem it's really seemed to cause is a sore throat. No other symptoms.

    Anyway, i wish I could have figured out how to quote other people's posts in the white box but maybe I don't have that capability as a member. I also wanted to say that I don't think that Dr. Baxter is ignorant at all, I think he's very intelligent and generous for donating so much time to this website.

    Thanks to both for responding.

  8. #8

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    Anyway, i wish I could have figured out how to quote other people's posts in the white box but maybe I don't have that capability as a member.
    All members can do that.

    You can either copy and paste (Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V in Windows) into the Quick Reply box and then put [ quote ] before and [ /quote ] after the part you want to quote (without the spaces before and after the square brackets), OR if you click on the "Quote" button above each post it will do that automatically for you on the regular reply page.

  9. #9

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    if you click on the "Quote" button above each post it will do that automatically for you on the regular reply page.
    Do you have to quote the entire post if you use the quote button? That's what keeps happening.

  10. #10

    How would you feel if someone took this away from you....

    I also just wanted to clarify that statement I made about having no psychological symptoms (only sore throat) is that one major concern is that lately I keep hearing that smoking predisposes people to schizophrenia and sometimes after stopping people come down with these things. My dad (who I barely know or see) has major psychotic symptoms like delusions (he says that when white cars pass that means he's doing well, black cars mean he's doing bad and red cars mean stop smoking cigarettes, also thinks he's being taped by FBI, he told me all of this in one of our extremely rare phone conversations). I think his symptoms are drug induced (by much more seriuos drugs). Anyway, if my options are keep smoking or become psychotic I think I would choose the former. Of course I didn't find all this out until after I'd beens smoking for like five years so it was too late to do anything about it. I thought it was an improvement on alcohol because of the lack of hang overs. Sorry I just felt the need to clarify why I thought there may be an issue when there are no psychological symptoms. Also the fact that there have been numerous failed resolutions when we tried to stop (for various reasons). Since a psychiatrist is supposed to be an expert in brain chemistry I thought that if he wasn't concerned maybe some of the mental health warnings could be exaggerated. Plus the anti anxiety and stomach settling benefits make it a complicated choice with pros and cons. OK-thanks for letting me get that out...it helps me to organize my feelings better.

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